Heartbreaking, Illuminating North Korean Defector’s Memoir that Lingers

Book review: A River in Darkness, by Masaji Ishikawa (Amazon) What do I remember of that night? The night I escaped from North Korea? There are so many things that I don't remember, that I've put out of my mind forever...But I'll tell you what I do recall. It's drizzling. But soon the drizzle turns... Continue Reading →

Many Names, Many Lives Of A North Korean Defector

Book review: The Girl With Seven Names, by Hyeonseo Lee with David John (Amazon / Book Depository) Leaving North Korea is not like leaving any other country. It is more like leaving another universe. I will never truly be free of its gravity, no matter how far I journey. After reading Barbara Demick's brilliant Nothing to Envy, her group... Continue Reading →

A Voice from the Gulag

Book review: The Day Will Pass Away, by Ivan Chistyakov (Amazon / Book Depository) So even my inner word recedes day by day into eternity until it reaches freezing point. You start believing they can make you lose all emotion. Yet every day brings you nearer to freedom. Only, what kind of path are you walking to get there?... Continue Reading →

We Have Nothing to Envy in the World

Book review: Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick Amazon "In the futuristic dystopia imagined in 1984, George Orwell wrote of a world where the only color to be found was in the propaganda posters. Such is the case in North Korea." I saw this book mentioned in an article about David Sedaris' special habit when going... Continue Reading →

What Makes the Russians Tick

Book review: Russians, by Gregory Feifer "Russia has no need of sermons (she has heard too many), nor of prayers (she has mumbled them too often), but of the awakening in the people a feeling of human dignity, lost for so many ages in mud and filth." - Vissarion Belinsky on the Russian Orthodox Church in a letter to... Continue Reading →

Vignettes from a Communist Childhood

Book review: The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya Book Depository Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is one of contemporary Russia's most loved and accoladed author/playwrights, famous for her books of "scary fairytales"(There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby) and "love stories" (There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He... Continue Reading →

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